Riding down the road with the wind in your face is always good. Riding down the road with the wind in your face and the nation’s flag waving vigorously at 70 mph and drawing the attention of everyone else on the road is even better.
Monday I rode with a group of 22 riders to the Georgia/Florida line to escort a “Nation of Patriots Tour” U.S. flag making its way around the lower 48 as part of a fund raising efforts for service members wounded in the line of duty. The group from Brunswick, Ga., delivered the flag to Jacksonville and presented it to the first group of Florida riders who would speed the ensign on its way across the country.
Tuesday, 13 riders left Jacksonville headed for Tallahassee on the next leg of the flag’s 14,000 mile journey. The route called for some riding on I-10 and some on US 90, but only a few miles west of Live Oak, U.S. 90 was closed due to persistent flooding from Tropical Storm Debby, which dumped more than 20 inches of rain in the area 8 days ago. Undaunted, our band of flag bearers backtracked to the Interstate and resumed our westward pilgrimage to the next hand off site at the Tallahassee Harley-Davidson dealer. Despite the aquatic misadventure, we arrived only five minutes after our scheduled appearance.
The hand off ceremony was accomplished in proper fashion and the Jacksonville contingent reversed direction and headed home in temperatures at the mid-90 degree mark.
In two days I recorded about 500 miles accompanying the flag and thinking about what it means to be an American. While my view of patriotic duty doesn’t always match those with whom I ride, we nevertheless agree that this country’s political and moral values are, on balance, worth defending and that we should honor those who risk their lives in the defense of those fundamental values.
“I can’t wait to get on the road again.”